Research Theme T4


(T4)  Development of CSULA’s Master of Science Degree in Materials Science and Engineering (MS-MS&E) and Educational Plan for the PREM

CSULA Faculty Participants:  Adel Sharif, Emily Allen, Mohsen Eshraghi, Radi Jishi and Matthias Selke

The synergy of the proposed PREM team will be most evidently realized with the establishment of a rigorous Master of Science program in Materials Science and Engineering (MS-MS&E) at CSULA. In addition to being the bridge for PREM students to continue on to a Ph.D. program at Penn State or elsewhere, the proposed program aims to meet current local and national needs to prepare minority graduate students for successful careers or Ph.D. programs in MS&E.

Efforts to start the MS-MS&E program will commence immediately after receiving the notice of grant award. The Education and Curriculum Development Committee (ECDC) will supervise, and decide on, every aspect of the program creation and consequently its implementation. The five-member ECDC will consist of three materials scientists from the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST): Dean Emily Allen and two faculty members from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Adel Sharif (project leader) and Mohsen Eshraghi, plus two faculty members from the College of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS): Radi Jishi from the Department of Physics and Matthias Selke from the Department of Chemistry. The ECDC, in consultation with the Executive Committee (which includes the PI and the co-PI) and at least three industry representatives (members of the External Advisory Board), will decide on the curriculum, admission and graduation requirements, faculty course assignments, and development of all courses. Each PREM faculty member will create at least one course in MS&E related to his/her PREM research. Additional courses, as necessary, will be developed by Sharif in collaboration with the ECDC. The MS&E program is interdisciplinary, and will be administratively housed under the Office of the Provost, since it will be jointly managed by faculty from two Colleges (ECST and NSS). One member of the ECDC will be elected Program Director and will be equivalent to a Department Chair administratively, with his/her funding provided equally by the two colleges at first, until the program is able to provide its own funding via student enrollments. In addition to ongoing assessments and reviews of the newly created MS program, the ECDC and the Internal Advisory Board (IAB) will ensure best practice methodologies for the program. The IAB will conduct an annual review of the MS-MS&E program alongside of the reviewer(s) from PSU during the annual PREM retreat. At the retreat, the ECDC will make a “State of the MS Program” presentation and solicit the IAB for feedback. The ECDC will track the student outcomes of the program including PhD program acceptance, PhD completion, job placements and promotions. The interdisciplinary nature of the program is going to make this degree program a very unique one. MS&E is becoming an indispensable part of all disciplines in science and engineering but in general only materials scientists teach most or all of the courses in a typical MS&E department. Under the current proposal, a richer program, better suited for multidisciplinary research, will be developed to meet the needs of students from any discipline in science and engineering interested in materials research. Courses will be developed to take advantage of the faculty expertise in multiple disciplines involved in the project. Team-teaching will be considered for most of the courses developed to utilize collective faculty expertise in covering different components of a single course. For instance, various faculty members are experts in different computational methods or in utilizing different instruments. Therefore, a course in computational methods or instrumentation would be most successful if it is taught by several instructors each covering the topic(s) related to her/his own expertise. The degree program and the PREM research activities could be integrated more seamlessly and the MSE program would be more successful if teams of faculty, instead of individual faculty members, developed and taught courses. While all students will be educated in fundamental subjects in MSE through a set of typical MSE core courses, discipline-specific courses offered as elective courses will allow a greater freedom to different disciplines to train their students. Preliminary discussions with various administrators at CSULA indicated that it is going to take about a year for the MS in MSE program to be approved at all levels at CSULA and the CSU Chancellor’s Office. However, all parties involved have expressed enthusiasm for creation of this degree program and have committed to supporting it. The PI has already secured support for the program from the Deans of the Colleges of ECST and NSS. In addition, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at CSULA has indicated that it may provide one course release for each faculty member developing a course in MS&E once the program is approved.

CSULA will transition from quarter to semester system in Fall 2016. Our MS program will require 30 semester units for graduation. We expect to offer four graduate level core MS&E 3-unit courses and at least one 1-unit laboratory course that will be mandatory for all students to complete. The core program will likely include the following courses and labs: Materials Structure and Characterization, Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Materials, Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Phase Changes, Materials Processing and Computational Materials Science. Beyond this core program, students will enroll in specialty courses taught by members of the teaching faculty, including those in physics, chemistry and engineering; they may also take graduate courses in other departments depending on their research interests and their undergraduate background. Additionally, students will have opportunity of getting credit for thesis option (0–6 units), graduate directed study (0–3 units), and seminars (0–3 units). The remainder of the 30 units will come from elective courses that are either specific to the student’s undergraduate discipline or are general MS&E courses. A maximum number of allowed upper division undergraduate courses in related fields will be determined. All these details are preliminary and will go through a rigorous scrutiny and approval process by the ECDC prior to implementation. The design and implementation of the MS-MS&E will benefit from the involvement of Dean Emily Allen, who was previously Professor and Chair of the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at San Jose State University, which has both BS and MS programs in Materials Engineering. She also serves as an ABET Program Evaluator for MS&E programs and is a member of the TMS Accreditation Committee. She has been the PI on numerous NSF curriculum development grants, including one for the development of an interdisciplinary curriculum in Microelectronics Process Engineering (see Facilities and Other Resources). The only MS&E program in the vicinity of CSULA is at USC, which is not affordable for the heavily minority-concentrated population around our campus. CSULA, at the eastern edge of Los Angeles, is in close proximity to the industrial areas to the east/southeast of Los Angeles. Many of our graduates go on to work at Boeing, Jet Propulsion Labs, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Honeywell, companies which employ materials science engineers. Thus, communities around CSULA would benefit from UG and graduate MS&E programs. Establishment of the MS-MS&E program may greatly facilitate the eventual offering of an UG degree in the same discipline. Perhaps the greatest benefit from the creation of the MS program is the potential for CSULA to become one of the largest feeders of minority students to Ph.D. programs in MS&E.